The Raid 2

The world premiere screening of Gareth Evans‘ highly anticipated sequel, The Raid 2, just finished at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and the response was electric. We’ll have a review and video blog soon but, for now, we’ve compiled a bunch of tweets from movie bloggers and filmmakers alike to give you an idea of what you can expect when the film hits on March 28. Here are two to get the ball rolling:

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Best Movies of 2013, According to IMDb Users

Waar

Over the past few weeks, and for the next few months, discussions will center on the best films of 2013. I did a list, the /Filmcast did a list and innumerable others will do the same leading up to the moment the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences crowns their best film of the year with the Best Picture Oscar.

But what do even bigger audiences think? Many film fans don’t have a blog, paper or podcast to spout off on. Many of those people turn to the Internet Movie Database to vote on the films they loved best in any given year. Now, the IMDB has published their top 50 films of 2013 according to over 10,000 users. Check it out below. Read More »

Nymphomaniac

Lars von Trier‘s Nymphomaniac has attracted a lot of attention, that’s for sure, but is it actually good enough to sustain that attention? Happily for his fans, the answer seems to be a resounding yes. Reviews have begun trickling out of Europe, where the film opens later this month, and so far the consensus is that — for all the hubbub about its hardcore sex scenes — it’s more of an intellectual stimulation than a sexual one.

To be clear, the reviews are all for the two-part, four-hour edit of the movie, not the five-and-a-half-hour director’s cut that von Trier favors. The former is the version that’ll hit theaters around the world; when, where, and how the latter version will be released remains unclear. For now, though, it seems the four-hour cut is perfectly satisfying on its own. Reviewers remarked that the film feels pretty complete as it is, and one stressed that regardless of whether von Trier had the final say, “Nymphomaniac couldn’t have been made by anyone else”

Hit the jump to read the early buzz.

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SAVING MR. BANKS

Disney has three big films coming out this holiday season, but only one is about the company itself. That’s Saving Mr. Banks, the true story of Walt Disney’s courting of author P.L. Travers for the rights to her book, Mary Poppins. Directed by John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side), the film features Tom Hanks as Disney and Emma Thompson as Travers. It opens December 13 in the U.S. but had its world premiere this weekend at the London Film Festival.

So how is it? The first reviews are out and while everyone seems to agree there’s plenty of Disney magic, and some people even smell Oscars, a few don’t necessarily think it works. Read a bunch of reviews below. Read More »

Tims Vermeer

Of all the films that got incredible buzz out of last week’s Telluride Film Festival (12 Years A Slave, Labor Day, Gravity, etc.) one stood out just because it sounded so very different. That film was Tim’s Vermeer, a documentary by noted magicians Penn and Teller. Penn produced and Teller directed the film, which follows inventor Tim Jenison on his attempt to duplicate the famous painting The Music Lesson by Johannes Vermeer. Jenison surmises that Vermeer may not have painted all his famous works by hand, instead using technology to aide in the creation. By attempting this, Jenison (as well as Penn and Teller) question the very nature of art itself.

Below, we’ve got a clip from the film that makes that above paragraph a bit more clear, as well as some early buzz from noted film critics. Read More »

rush-hd-2

Ron Howard is by no means critically reviled, but as a director he hasn’t had the sort of career that gets hardcore cinephiles all hot and bothered, either. So while we’ve been curious about Rush, his Formula 1 racing drama, it’d be a stretch to say it was one of our most anticipated releases of the year.

In the wake of its Toronto Film Festival debut, however, we may have to reconsider. Early reactions have ranged from solid to positively glowing, with plenty of reviewers noting that Howard has managed to avoid his usual sentimentality. As a matter of fact, praise was lavished on just about everyone involved, including stars Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl, screenwriter Peter Morgan, and cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle. Hit the jump to read the reviews.

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Gravity

It’s hard to believe that it’s been seven long years since Alfonso Cuarón released his last movie, the dystopian sci-fi Children of Men. But at least he’s made his new film worth the wait, if early Venice Film Festival reviews are anything to go by.

Gravity stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as two astronauts — she a newbie, he a veteran. While on a mission, a bit of floating debris knocks into their shuttle, sending them floating into outer space and struggling to survive.

Reactions from an early test screening last year were mostly quite positive, and now that the film’s complete the praise is even more glowing. Hit the jump to see what the critics are saying.

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Early Buzz: ‘Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues’

Anchorman 2 GNN

“Free screening of Anchorman 2 this Tuesday!” As a film fan, hearing someone scream that outside a movie theater is like being invited to the ultimate event. As a film journalist, it’s the opposite, because you can’t attend. (Test screenings are typically closed to press.) Last week, I was in Burbank, CA attending a press screening of the awesome horror film You’re Next when I heard someone say those beautiful words. I didn’t follow up because I’d be stopped at the door. But lots of other people went to the show, and today we have our first reactions to Adam McKay‘s Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.

Those reactions are decidedly mixed but, with a film from this team, that’s nothing to be worried about just yet. Test screenings are literally used as part of the filmmaking process. McKay and producer Judd Apatow use audience reactions to early versions of the film to fine tune jokes, insert alternate line readings and change the pacing of the film. So things that didn’t work in Burbank, CA could very well be changed. Read some reactions below. Read More »

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